Preview: Montrose vs Airdrieonians
April 19, 2019
Airdrie may need other results to go their way to make the promotion play-offs, but Leighton McIntosh stresses that a strong finish is required regardless.
The Diamonds missed out on the chance to put their play-off fate back in their own hands with home defeat to Stenhousemuir last Saturday, after this week’s opponents Montrose had beaten East Fife to move into the coveted fourth spot.
Striker McIntosh said the result was hard to swallow.
“It was really disappointing, Stenhousemuir have now done that to us three times this season.
“Everyone was devastated with the result, especially considering the opportunity we had to push on for a play-off position.”
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat spelled the end of a four-match unbeaten run for Airdrie, during which the Diamonds repeatedly came up against teams on good form of their own.
McIntosh says that’s symptomatic of the way this season has panned out - and the 26-year-old wants to see the side return to their previous form.
“Every team in this league has had a good spell at some point. It’s a really tight league and we know anyone can beat anyone.
“We need to end the season strongly and hope other results go our way.
“We obviously can’t affect other results, so we just need to be confident that we can do our own job.”
That job now consists of three matches. The Diamonds face champions Arbroath at home next weekend before a last-day trip to Stranraer.
First up comes the final Angus visit of the season, to face current fourth-placed side Montrose.
Stewart Petrie’s men have surprised many after winning the League Two title last year, and got their impressive campaign up and running with an August win over Airdrie, Ross Campbell heading home the only goal of the game.
Newly-appointed Diamonds boss Ian Murray watched from the stands at Links Park in October but it was assistant Marc Fitzpatrick who led the side to a 3-0 win, Joao Victoria grabbing the third after a Darryl Duffy brace.
And Duffy was on the scoresheet again when the sides met at the Penny Cars Stadium last month, netting a 47th-minute winner in a 1-0 victory over the Gable Endies.
McIntosh spent a season at Montrose before joining Peterhead in 2015, having previously spent time on loan at Links Park from Dundee.
The frontman is full of respect for his former side’s achievements - but firmly believes that the Diamonds can come out on top by the end of the season.
“It seems a long time since I was there, but I still know a lot of the boys. They’ve done well to keep a core of players, and they’ve come up from League Two and had a very good season.
“We’ll need to be ready for a tough game, because they’re well drilled, but we know it’s not over yet, so we’ll go there as determined as ever.
“We know we’ve got the ability to come away with a result - we’ve already done it this season - we just need to get our heads back in the game and play to our strengths.”
Saturday April 20, 2019
Links Park, Montrose
Refereee: Craig Napier
Assistants: Gordon Crawford, Alan Proctor
Click to enlarge infographic
Manager Ian Murray admits it’s win-or-bust as far as the Diamonds’ play-off hopes are concerned.
“We know we have to go there and win to give ourselves any sort of chance going into the last two games.
“The boys have been up there before and won well, and that’s what we’re looking to do in what is a big game for both teams.”
Rangers loanee Jordan Houston will miss Airdrie’s remaining fixtures after picking up a hamstring injury. He joins Scott Gallacher, Grant Gallagher, Dale Carrick and Chris O’Neil on the sidelines.
Referee Craig Napier has been involved in one other Airdrie match this season, November’s 1-0 defeat to Forfar Athletic.